FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Dan Barrett, Cathy Hirt and Nicholas Zebrun are out of the running for Fort Worth mayor. But the race is not over as the two top vote earners head toward a June 18 runoff election.
Betsy Price heads into the race as the front runner, capturing more than 40% of the vote in the main election. Jim Lane captured 26%.
That means two very different rolls for the candidates.
“She is the defensive person,” said UTA Political Science Associate Professor Allan Saxe. “She’s wants to keep things the way it is. Sort, ‘Come on out! I’m the person. Lets do it again!'”
In fact, Price told her supporters watching election returns at a party Saturday night: “We’re just going to roll our sleeves up, first thing in the morning, get our boots back on the ground and get after it!”
“Where Mr. Lane is going to say, ‘If I can raise a couple of issues and get voter interest up just a little bit i might have a chance,'” said Saxe.
“I think we can motivate people,” Lane said in an interview following the election. “I think we’ll just have to go door to door and one at a time.”
But how do you motivate voters who already voted for someone else or didn’t show up during the first election? “Frankly, I don’t see an issue where they can just really grab it and bring out a different constituency,” Saxe said.
And consider the similarity of the two candidates’ stances on several key issues during a pre-election debate. Both are for zero-tolerance monitoring of natural gas well sites, although Lane has since said there are issues seperating himself from Price when it comes to straightening existing gas drilling ordinances.
Both want the police force more proactive in the community.
And both want the next mayor to encourage more public involvement in our schools — Price through volunteer work and Lane through mentoring. Which left Lane, in a post-election interview, to stress his years of experience on the city council as his biggest selling point over Price.
All considered, Saxe said expect far lower voter interest and lower voter turn out than the 10-to-13 percent from Saturday.
Early voting for the runoff election will begin June 6 and run through June 14. The election itself will be held June 18.